Browsing Category: Disaster Services

Earth-Shaking Hope in Haiti

In early 2010, I was working for Convoy of Hope in Haiti. Things were normal. I was finishing up hosting guests from the U.S. and waiting for a Field Team to arrive two days later. But late that afternoon, as I stood on the balcony of a friend’s home, everything changed. 

My memories of the January 12 earthquake are ones that will always be with me. I’ll never forget the sound of moving earth and crashing buildings. Of mothers wailing in the street. Of the look on peoples’ faces as they tried to process what was happening. 

Although my assignment at Convoy of Hope was not for Disaster Services, I found myself at ground zero for one of the largest natural disasters to hit the Western Hemisphere. I pushed through my mental haze and began working with our partners in Haiti to assess the situation, determine food inventory, and identify a base of operations for in Port-au-Prince. 

Thankfully, within 48 hours of the shaking, I was welcomed by the sight of my Convoy of Hope colleagues crossing the tarmac of the airport. They brought a sense of calm that I hadn’t felt since the ordeal began. I was eager to step out of the way and place the reins of the response in their very capable hands. 

We all witnessed the sadness and desperation that took hold throughout the island in the days and weeks that followed. It got so bad that many families were forced to place the lifeless bodies of their loved in the street to be collected and placed in mass graves. 

But we also saw the amazing power of hope. A strength rose up in the Haitian people, who had already endured so much, and they picked themselves up and moved into their new “normal.” The overwhelming global response to the calamity showed them that they weren’t ignored or forgotten. They would make it.

When the earthquake struck, Convoy of Hope and our partners were already invested and committed to Haiti and were feeding more than 13,000 kids every school day. The overwhelming need after the earthquake propelled us forward and forced us to fast track our plans in the country. In 2019, we are feeding more than 90,000 children in Haiti. 

Tragedies don’t often give people the chance to do anything but survive. That’s why we hope to look beyond the immediacy of a disaster and toward a day when survivors can participate in the rebuilding of their communities. That’s what Haiti has been for us. We were honored to come alongside Haitians and serve when they needed us most. But we’re most proud of when they came back alongside us as participants … as partners on Haiti’s journey. 

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25 Stories That Shaped Convoy of Hope / Children's Feeding / Disaster Services / Field Story

Convoy Delivers Relief to Community Devastated by Hurricane Dorian

Hurricane Dorian was the most powerful hurricane to ever strike the Bahamas. It hovered over the Abaco Islands for days; the sheer force of its 200-mph winds crumpled cars, smashed homes, and knocked down trees all over the islands. Floodwaters rose so quickly that they trapped many residents on top of their houses.

Avis was one of the many residents who chose to stay and ride out the storm. “It was horrible,” she remembers. “We had a lot of praying ladies here. We had people who prayed and sang songs. And I guess it worked, because we’re here.”

When the storm finally passed, she emerged to find her community completely destroyed. In many of the affected areas, access to a grocery store, electricity, or even water is still not a reality. In lesser affected areas, some businesses are just now beginning to open up. Many were without access to grocery stores, electricity, or cell service.

“We have about 200 people here, and very little food,” says Avis. “We have to really work hard to get some food from the grocery store that’s destroyed to feed everybody for the next two or three days.”Convoy of Hope arrived in Avis’ community with thousands of pounds of food, water, and other relief supplies a few days after the storm. The supplies that Convoy provided were welcomed with gratitude and tears.

“We’re getting everything,” says Avis. “And I really want to say I appreciate, and I feel the love, especially from my friends all over the world. We’re surviving. We’re survivors.”

To date, Convoy of Hope is working with more than 50 community hubs for distribution. We’ve delivered supplies by airplane and purchased local goods in Nassau. Convoy of Hope partners in Florida are providing vital resources to many Bahamians who evacuated to the United States. They are working with our teams to fulfill needs with product located in our Florida warehouse.
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Disaster Services

Convoy of Hope’s trained volunteers are paving the way for a response to Dorian

After a close brush with Hurricane Irma, a group of passionate Floridians reached out to Convoy of Hope for help. Their community had been spared the brunt of the storm, but their drive to help survivors was galvanized. What they wanted from Convoy of Hope was not food or flood buckets. They wanted knowledge.

Within a short time, Convoy of Hope staff had trained 25 individuals in how to respond to local emergencies and disasters. Whether it was helping a neighbor when their house burned down or preparing for a major disaster like Hurricane Dorian, these individuals wanted to make sure that would be prepared should the worst happen.

At the training, Convoy of Hope staff instructed courses on disaster preparedness, assessing damage, relief distribution, and the cleanup processes. In addition to instruction about directly responding to disasters, attendees learned how to reach out to their local governments so they would be included in the master response plan for their area.

When it was announced that Florida would be directly in the path of Hurricane Dorian, members of this group of trained responders reached out to Convoy of Hope. On Saturday, a truck of supplies will be delivered to help resource first responders and to have immediate supplies for them to distribute to those affected by the storm.

Training a network of volunteers is a vital part of Convoy’s master plan of equipping local communities — not only with product and knowledge of our staff, but with the ability to care for their community when Convoy of Hope is not present.

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Disaster Services